It was another busy week in Columbus - the March Madness brackets were announced, spring practice rolls on and school is back in session. While a few of the winter athletics teams are gearing up for NCAA Championship runs and the spring sports are entering the meat of their seasons, it's an exciting time for Buckeye sports.
This week we're going to take a look at the red-hot Buckeye baseball team, the NCAA record-shattering gymnastics team and the wrestling Buckeyes, who have a strong chance of bringing home an NCAA Championship or two.
Baseball Buckeyes Bring out Brooms
Ohio State returned to Columbus this past weekend for their first home games of the season and didn't disappoint. The Buckeyes swept Siena by scores of 8-5, 7-3 and 7-1. In the opener on Friday, sophomore second baseman Troy Kuhn carried Ohio State offensively with a career-high five RBI's, including a 3-run homer - the second of his career. Ryan Riga was spectacular on the mound again, allowing one run in seven efficient innings.
On Saturday, the teams played a double-header and Ohio State won both games easily. In the first game, Ohio State took advantage of Sienna pitcher Ed Lewicki's control issues, drawing nine walks in the game. Jacob Bosiokovic had three hits and Josh Dezse had two, while Dezse and Ronnie Dawson each had two runs batted-in. Relief pitcher Tanner Tully earned his first win of the season, relieving starter Greg Greve in the sixth inning when the game was 3-3 and holding Sienna scoreless while the Buckeyes pulled away.
In the nightcap, Troy Kuhn again provided the spark offensively with two hits and four RBI's in the 7-1 win. Ronnie Dawson, Zach Ratcliff and Ryan Leffel also added two hits each. Starting pitcher Zach Farmer picked up his second win of the season.
The Buckeyes returned to action last night, hosting Akron in what turned out to be a thriller. Ohio State won 6-5 in 11 innings, on a walk-off sacrifice fly by Troy Montgomery that scored Jake Brobst. Trailing by two in the bottom of the ninth, the Buckeyes were able to scratch out a pair of runs thanks to timely hitting and an error by the Zips.Jacob Bosiokovic's infield single scored Tim Wetzel, while a throwing error allowed Bosiokovic to advance to third base with one out. Pat Porter's sacrifice fly scored Bosiokovic and sent the game to extra innings. In the 11th Ohio State had their backs against the wall again, trailing 5-4. Akron walked Pat Porter and Josh Dezse with one out, then Ronnie Dawson came through with a double that scored Porter before Montgomery knocked in the winning run on the next at bat.
Buckeye All-American reliever Trace Dempsey picked up the win after pitching the 10th and 11th innings. Offensively, Troy Kuhn stayed hot with his team-high third home run of the season in the fifth inning.
Next up for Ohio State (12-6) is a date tonight with Xavier. The Musketeers are 11-6 on the season, currently riding a 3-game winning streak after beating Ohio University 14-0 last night. The highlight of their season thus far has been a 2-1 victory on the road over North Carolina. They also lost a tight game to reigning Big Ten champs Indiana a couple of weeks ago. It should be a great game - first pitch is at 5:05 pm and tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for youth/seniors and free for Ohio State students.
This weekend, the Buckeyes kick-off Big Ten play as they host Michigan State in a three-game series.
Gymnastics teams set bar high
The second-ranked men's gymnastics team set a program record in their tri-meet with No. 1 Oklahoma and Temple this past weekend. What a way for the Buckeyes to send out their seniors on Senior Day. The Buckeyes posted a team score of 446.15 to take first in the meet, which should catapult them to No.1 when the new rankings come out.
The meet also saw an NCAA record go down, as freshman Sean Melton scored a 16.050 on the parallel bars and captured Big Ten freshman of the week honors.
In women's action, Ohio State closed out their regular season by posting a 195.675 at the Michigan State quad to gear up for the Big Ten championships. Maggie Dunn posted a team-best 9.825 on the balance beam and Tenille Funches tied a career high with a 9.900 on the vault. Meanwhile, Alex DeLuca and Victoria Aepli each posted third place finishes in the floor exercise and uneven bars respectively.
Next up for the women is the Big Ten Championships this weekend at Penn State, while the men's Big Ten Championships is the following weekend at Nebraska.
Wrestlers gear up for NCAA Championships
Last Wednesday night, bids for the NCAA Wrestling Championships were announced and eight Buckeyes earned berths. Nick Roberts (125 pounds), Johnni DiJulius (133), Logan Stieber (141) Ian Paddock (149), Mark Martin (174), Kenny Courts (184), Nick Heflin (197) and Nick Tavanello (Heavyweight) all earned bids. Nick Heflin earned a one-seed and Logan Stieber earned a two-seed in their respective weight classes.
The tournament begins tomorrow at noon in Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy Arena and wraps up Saturday evening. Look for at least a few Buckeyes to challenge for National Championships.